Meru survey: Wi-Fi enabled medical devices tax other uses of Wi-Fi in hospitals

Infotech Lead America: A survey conducted by Meru Networks  on healthcare IT leaders on their Wi-Fi uses and needs revealed that Wi-Fi enabled medical device adoption affects other uses of Wi-Fi in hospitals.The adoption of Life-Critical technology is low given that 77 percent of hospitals surveyed had some major concern with their WLAN infrastructure. Of those with concerns, 55 percent said that their major concern was regarding performance, capacity or guaranteeing performance for critical applications, while for 29 percent the major concern was security.

It was found that 85 percent of hospitals use computers on wheels (CoW/WoW) and 73 percent allow patients and visitors to access Wi-Fi. Yet only 43 percent of hospitals are using Life-Critical technologies like smart pumps or telemetry on Wi-Fi. 57 percent of those running life-critical applications deploy a separate network to run those applications.

More than a third of the 100 respondents constrain their use of Wi-Fi due to limitations in reliability and performance. Only 40 percent of hospitals claimed Wi-Fi deployment across 100 percent of their campuses. They continue to deploy additional mobile healthcare devices to clinicians. Eighty-five percent currently have CoW/WoW and 56 percent of the respondents expected that more than a quarter of the work currently being done on CoW/WoW would shift to smartphones and tablets within three years.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents indicated that they encourage clinicians to bring their own mobile devices (BYOD) into hospitals and use them while on the job. Eighty five percent responded that Wi-Fi is important for “Meaningul Use.” With the focus on “Meaningful Use,” it is not surprising that 49 percent of respondents support EMR/CPOE on tablets or smartphones.

Only seven percent of hospitals have integrated alarms with mobility devices used by clinicians. Thirty seven percent of respondents are use Wi-Fi for nurse call systems. Integration of such technologies can help hospitals to respond quickly to patient’s needs.

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